Russian security chief calls opposition leader to ‘duel’

In this file photo taken on March 27, 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and the National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov take part in a gala evening marking the Day of Russia's National Guard in Moscow. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Russian security chief calls opposition leader to ‘duel’

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s close ally and chief of the National Guard on Tuesday challenged Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to a “duel” and threatened to turn him into “steak.”
Wearing his uniform, Viktor Zolotov spouted threats and insults in a video message to Navalny, who last month alleged corruption in the National Guard and is currently in jail for violating anti-protest legislation.
“You, Mr. Navalny, have never faced payback,” Zolotov said, after rubbishing Navalny’s corruption expose as slander. “Nobody has given you a quality kick in the ass. In a way you feel it in your liver.”
“I simply call you to a duel, to the ring, to the tatami, to wherever. And I promise to make a juicy beefsteak out of you in just a few minutes,” he said in the video posted on the National Guard’s official website.
Navalny in late August published a video he addressed to the rank and file employees of the National Guard, the agency tasked with dispersing Russian protests.
Agency leadership, he tells the soldiers, “literally takes food out of your mouth for profit.”
The expose alleges that the agency purchases poor quality food for its soldiers for over-inflated prices.
Navalny is not set to finish his 30-day jail term until late this month. His team however reacted to Zolotov’s message with a mixture of horror and ridicule.
The video has “open, very serious threats,” said Navalny’s former head of campaign staff Leonid Volkov on Twitter, adding that Zolotov “must have forgotten” that Navalny is locked up and can’t reply.
“They can’t even hire good PR people with their stolen billions,” wrote Lyubov Sobol, who works for Navalny’s anti-corruption center. “Six minutes of threats and not a single word to refute facts and evidence in the investigation.”

Previously Navalny had alleged Zolotov himself — a former head of Putin’s security detail who was appointed to the current newly-created post in 2016 — was “very rich” and that his family owned several luxury properties.
Zolotov in his video said that he was “not a poor man” but went on to accuse Navalny of being a “rotten” American agent.
“When you were still using the potty, I had served in the army, was an outstanding worker of Communist labor, worked in industry and then went into business,” Zolotov said.
“And who are you, Navalny, I want to understand what you’re made of,” he said.
“It’s clear you’ve been made in an American test tube... you are tasked with pouring mud over everything... to destabilize the country’s political and economic situation,” he said.
“You have no country, no Fatherland.”
Zolotov added that “if you use offensive or slanderous language against me and members of my family, I promise you that before I step over you and wipe my feet on you, I will host a show for all employees of the Russian National Guard.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to endorse Zolotov’s message, though he denied that it was approved by Putin.
“Sometimes you can use any measures against blatant slander,” he told journalists, adding that the Kremlin does not see it as a threat of physical violence.


Oxfam told to do more to tackle sexual misconduct and abuse

Updated 15 min 26 sec ago
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Oxfam told to do more to tackle sexual misconduct and abuse

  • Many workers said they had faced entrenched elitism, sexism and racism, while problem staff members were often not held accountable for their actions

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Bullying and elitism within global aid charity Oxfam have created “toxic” work environments and enabled sexual harassment by staff, an independent commission has found.
Many workers said they had faced entrenched elitism, sexism and racism, while problem staff members were often not held accountable for their actions, found the interim report released this week.
“There is still a lot to do in terms of building trust within the organization,” Shannon Mouillesseaux, one of the commissioners, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Oxfam said it was making changes to clamp down on misconduct and would act on the report’s recommendations.
“It is painfully clear that Oxfam is not immune from sexual and other forms of abuse that stem from the abuse of power,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s international executive director, said in a statement.
“To those who have experienced such unacceptable behavior: we are sorry, I am sorry, and we will follow up on any cases passed to us by the Commission as a matter of urgency.”
Oxfam was embroiled in a scandal when it emerged last February that its staff used prostitutes during a relief mission in Haiti, sparking a wider scandal over sexual harassment and abuse in the charity sector.
It appointed the independent commission to review the charity’s practices and culture in response to the Haiti revelations and is also conducting its own action plan to improve its culture and safeguarding.
The commission said Oxfam was not the only charity to face issues over sexual harassment and other misconduct, but its investigation had revealed significant problems remained.
Workers described elitist behavior and bullying in many offices, while “drastic inconsistencies” in handling safeguarding issues meant complaints were not always properly acted on, it said.
Former victims and whistleblowers said they had faced a lack of accountability when raising complaints, with some saying they had been effectively pushed out of the organization.
The commission said work was needed to build trust with staff and recommended changes including action to create a single unified safeguarding system and to diversify the charity’s leadership.
Sexual misconduct claims at Oxfam have sharply risen since the Haiti scandal, reaching 155 in the 2017-18 financial year compared to 87 in the year previously. (Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)